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Foolish?

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and He has not been disappointed.”

This insight was voiced by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently while addressing a Knights of Columbus gathering. Scalia is a staunch Catholic, and while I won’t agree with all of his religious beliefs as part of the Roman Catholic church, he has this one exactly right. Paul wrote about this in First Corinthians chapter 1:

20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

As Christians, we are constantly told by the world today that we are stupid for believing what we do.

Aren’t you smart enough to know that evolution is the way it happened and that creation is a myth? Are you so stupid as to believe that there is a God who is all-powerful? Have you yet to gain the understanding that we are the ultimate arbiters of what is moral? Come on, how stupid can you be?

At times I find it disheartening; at times only frustrating When I gain the correct perspective, then I can finally look past the insults and criticism to realize that I have a knowledge (through no merit of my own) that they don’t have, and regardless of how they ridicule me, it is still my duty to proclaim what I know to be true.

I look at it this way: if I were walking by somebody’s house and saw it burning, they’d want me to come tell them so they could escape. But what if I was walking by and somehow knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that their house was burning, even though they didn’t understand why. Wouldn’t I still have the moral imperative to tell them? If this were the case I would also be trying anything in my control to try to help them to understand how I knew.

In the case of my beliefs, they won’t be able to understand unless the Spirit enables them to respond to the message. However, I still have the moral imperative (and the command from God) to keep speaking the message, even if I am called a fool for saying it.

Here’s where I have to do some self-evaluation. I generally don’t like to be thought a fool. (Who does?) While I’m not willing to go change my beliefs so people won’t think I’m stupid, I too often keep my mouth shut when I really shouldn’t… thus providing the impression that I’m not a fool, when if I told them what I believed, they’d think I was. I think I need to open my mouth more. I’ll have to pray for the boldness to do it.

Scalia again:

“If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Consider yourself challenged. I know I am.

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